Sunday, February 9, 2014
Not At All Cheesy: Better Off Friends
Point, Expected Release Date: February 25, 2014
*ARC provided by the publisher to attendees of Liza Wiermer's Novel Luncheon - thank you for inviting me to this event and for the book!*
It's an age-old question, and one that Macallan and Levi have been facing for five years: can a guy and a girl really be friends, or is romance always just around the corner ready to ruin everything? No one believes that their relationship is purely platonic, even though she's had boyfriends and he's had girlfriends. The fact that they are best friends always seems to get pushed aside. But as they get older and life throws more at them, is it possible that everyone else was right? And does it even matter it means their friendship as they know it could be changed forever? Maybe they are better off friends. In a sweet Midwestern story, Elizabeth Eulberg takes on a When Harry Met Sally... scenario and makes it her own.
I have a crush on this book. It is pure and true and it was exactly what I needed to read. There's a reason Eulberg's stories have quickly become treasures to teen and young adult readers - they have a way of being contemporary and timeless. In her best book yet, Better Off Friends explores all aspects of teen life: friends, family, school, self-discovery, and that age-old war between the head and the heart. This story will hit home with readers anywhere, but I absolutely adored the Midwest setting. There's a sort of folksyness to it and even though I'm not from Wisconsin or a Packers fan or a regular consumer of cheeseballs, I completely connected to Macallan and Levi's world. I tend to identify myself as a Chicagolander just because it's easier, but in actuality I'm a suburbanite and this book perfectly captured what it's like to grow up in this part of the country but not in a major city.
Eulberg also perfectly harnessed what it's like for a guy and a girl to be friends because believe it or not, it really is possible. So often in contemporary romantic stories, the romance takes center stage, but I loved the growth of this relationship and how it started with two people who are best friends first and the possibility of something more is secondary. Having this base made the characters and the various conflicts in their lives that much stronger.
If you love contemporary stories with well-drawn characters you feel like you've known your whole life, then Better Off Friends is a must-read for you. Heart fluttering, palms sweating, and plenty of cause for swooning, this is a love story that readers will keep coming back to for years to come.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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